If somebody told you at the end of last season that Masahiro Tanaka would be the best pitcher on the New York Yankees, you would have thought they were crazy. As it turns out, he is anchoring a pitching staff that has been marred by injury and inconsistency this season.
Although Tanaka is technically a rookie, he came to the Yankees with impeccable credentials and a 24-0 record last season pitching in Japan. But Tanaka was no slam dunk to be a Yankee this year, in fact a lot of things went right for Tanaka to wind up in pinstripes. Tanaka's Japanese team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, were apprehensive about posting Tanaka and it was uncertain if he would be even available for this season.
The Yankees had a lot of competition for Tanaka, with the Dodgers and Cubs being among many clubs bidding on his services. And early reports said that Tanaka's wife would prefer a west coast landing spot. But everything worked out in the Yankees favor and the rest is history. For the record, Tanaka has been better than advertised (if that's even possible) for the Yankees.
Tanaka who is a front runner in early Cy Young conversation is currently 9-1 with a 2.02 ERA and 92 strikeouts. Tanaka leads the league in ERA and WHIP and his nine wins is one shy for the league lead behind Toronto's Mark Buehrle (10). Tanaka who signed a seven year, sight unseen $155 million contract has been worth every penny, so far, for the Yankees.
Tanaka has surpassed CC Sabathia as the ace of the staff in just two short months and he continues to baffle and dominate Major League batters. In a season where many have been critical of the Yankees off-season signings and the injuries they have incurred, Tanaka has been exceptional as he eyes his first All-Star appearance and possibly a run at the 2014 AL Cy Young.Tags: Baseball, MLB, New York, New York Yankees